Smooth sailing for Na Hoa Holomoku: Club gets its second wind on the first Sunday of the month

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald Sailors race to pull ahead Sunday at Hilo Bay at the beginning of the first competition in the Dinghy Series Trophy Race for the Na Hoa Holomoku Hawaii Sailing Club.

Eleven sailors competed in the Dinghy Series Trophy Race for the Na Hoa Holomoku of Hawaii Yacht Club in Hilo Bay on Sunday afternoon.

Qualifying sailors competed in the final competition in a series of four to win the club trophy. The dinghy series requires sailors to use Lasers, which are smaller sailboats that hold one person each.

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The sailors were divided into two fleets with six sailors competing in the Laser Open Fleet and the other five competing in the Laser Radial Fleet.

Mac Cooper, commodore of the Na Hoa Holomoku, set up a triangle formation with buoys as markers for the sailors that was used for multiple races. The formation allows for sailors to compete with or against the wind.

“The real ultimate test of sailing is going upwind,” Cooper said. “And the big deal for sailors is starting, because you want to be the boat with the most windward at the start.”

At noon, a cluster of white sails began the first race of the day. As they sailed in the triangle formation, the sails began to continually spread away from each other. After 26 minutes, Richard Greever won the first race with flying colors.

After six races, Greever took home the perpetual club trophy after winnning the Laser Open Fleet and combined Laser fleet.

Dani Meyers and Julia Rose took home second and third, respectively, in the Laser Open Fleet. Rhonda Reep won the Laser Radial Fleet followed by Diggory Reep and Eben Paxton.

The 20-year-old Na Hoa Holomoku is a member-based and volunteer-run organization promoting all types of boating and is open year round to the Hawaii Island community.

The sailing club has been continuing activity on a more limited basis during the COVID-19 pandemic. On Sunday morning, sailors wore their masks while rigging boats and preparing for the race.

“Anytime we’re together people are wearing masks,” Cooper said. “When they are on the water, it’s their choice if they want to wear one.”

Na Hoa Holomoku did run into trouble when Mayor Harry Kim closed the parks for a second time on Sept. 4.

“When the parks are closed we can’t do anything,” member Ann Pease said. “In September, we couldn’t meet on the first Sunday of the month, which is usually when we open to the public.”

On the first Sunday of the month, anyone is welcome to join and learn the fundamentals of sailing. Those new to sailing can decide if they want to continue their membership afterward.

“It’s been kind of weird, but we are still gaining new members this year,” Pease said.

Last Friday, the sailing club wrapped up its junior fall sailing classes on Hilo Bayfront. The series included course levels from beginner to intermediate and gave students a way to spend time on the water while learning to sail.

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Anyone interested in joining or learning more about Na Hoa Holomoku can visit the club’s website at http://www.hilo-sailing.org.

Email Kelsey Walling at kwalling@hawaiitribune-herald.com

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